Express Access: Assessing the Equity Implications of Bus Express Routes on Montreal, Canada

Express buses—characterized by limited stops and sometimes higher frequencies or priority traffic measures—offer a cost-effective and efficient way to boost service convenience and reliability for riders. This paper assesses how equitably the benefits of express bus routes are distributed in Montreal, Canada, by analyzing the spatial and socioeconomic distribution of travel-time reductions and improvements in accessibility generated by these increasingly common services. To isolate the impact of bus express routes, the authors use GTFS data, Open Trip Planner software and the 2013 edition of the Montreal’s origin-destination survey to contrast travel time and accessibility at the trip and census-tract levels under two scenarios: (1) the existing, complete network and (2) a hypothetical network with express bus routes removed. Results show bus express routes have a sizeable impact on the wellbeing of Montreal residents, with monetized time savings estimated at $6,236,713 but the benefits do not accrue evenly. The greatest travel-time savings redound to the wealthiest of express bus users. Indeed, express bus users living in the census tracts that experienced the strongest accessibility gains earn, on average, almost $24,000 more than the average for census tracts with lower gains. While some people with incomes below $30,000 realize important travel-time savings from existing express routes, the services do not appear to significantly enhance access to jobs with wages below $30,000, except in some areas on the western part of the island. These results suggest that as planners and policymakers continue to implement new express services ample margin exists to improve transport-equity outcomes by more explicitly considering the spatial and sociodemographic distribution of accessibility and travel-time-reduction benefits.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Figures; Maps; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 15p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01763544
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: TRBAM-21-01260
  • Files: TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Dec 23 2020 11:04AM